I was running through my mental To-Do list earlier today (clean fridge, buy milk, dust turtle, etc.) when I started wondering about To-Don’t lists. I think everyone has a To-Don’t list, whether they’re aware of it or not. Mine varies from day-to-day, but it always has a few old standbys.
1. Don’t Die
2. Don’t Panic
3. Don’t Talk about Fight Club
3. Don’t Stop Believin’
4. Don’t Cry for Me, Argentina
5. Don’t Be Stupid
Lately I haven’t been following my To-Don’t list very well at all. I recently realized that my blatant disregard for Point #5 (Don’t Be Stupid) was making me pretty anxious, which goes directly against Point #2 (Don’t Panic). I was doing so much panicking, in fact, that I had almost convinced myself I was on the verge of neglecting Point #1, the cardinal don’t: Don’t Die.
Some people out there are innately cool. Whatever is happening, they know enough about society and its expectations to conduct themselves in an acceptable and awesome manner. They don’t get nervous every time they have to meet new people, they don’t worry for hours about making a phone call, and they don’t despair over the way they ordered a glass of water in a restaurant. They are the Samuel L. Jacksons of social situations, and I am one of them.
I don’t know what the opposite of Samuel L. Jackson is, but I think it’s either one of those really shivery dogs or me. Not every situation throws me for a hand-wringing, stomach-dropping loop (For example, eating Cheez-Its. I am so good at eating Cheez-Its I can’t even stand it). Unfortunately, there are some things out there that most people can handle with grace, but that reduce me to a puddle of socially-awkward goo.
What he said: “The dentist said he couldn’t believe I was still single with teeth like this.”
What I said: “Now you just need to find a lady friend with equally excellent teeth and have babies with teeth that make orthodontists weep.”
What he did: Ran away.
What I should have said:
5. Well, you know what they say about men with good teeth. Good… chewing.
4. You should make plaster casts now so you can have perfect dentures in case you ever lose your teeth in a terrible accident.
3. Did you know that herbivorous dinosaurs had peg-like teeth, the better to strip leaves off plants?
2. Did you see last night’s game?
1. Literally anything else.